A second class air-conditioned bus route opened Thursday from Chiang Mai to Luang Pabang as the 8th route linking Thailand with the Lao PDR. The route opening ceremony took place at the Chiang Mai Arcade bus terminal. The 44-seater air-conditioned bus departs once a day from Chiang Mai province and makes a stop in Chiang Rai before crossing the border to Louang Namtha, Oudomxay and Luang Prabang provinces of Laos. The journey takes 18 hours and the fare is 1,200 Baht. Once the fourth bridge across the Mekong River from Thailand, linking Chiang Khong with the Lao PDR’s Huay Xai, is finished next year, first class air-conditioned buses will replace the second services with a fare of 1,500 Baht.
In related news, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Transport Silapachai Jarukasemrattana said the high-speed train project from Bangkok-Chiang Mai should be ready for service in 2017. He said currently a study is beng carried out to see which route is to start first. Apart from the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, two other preliminary routes are in the project: Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima and Bangkok-Hua Hin. The high-speed rail journeys are expected to link the entire country within 3-4 hours, Mr Silpacha said.
Sources: MCOT and NNT